"A lighthouse doesn’t save the ships; it doesn’t go out and rescue them, it’s just this pillar that helps to guide people home," says Michele three months later. The supertite 5’3" actress is dressed in track pants and a black T-shirt, her bare feet tucked under her on a patio char outside by the pool at her modest airy West Hollywood home. "Someone once told me that, and I love the image. Lately, I’ve been using it as a guiding metaphor." Exactly waht the metaphor stands for isn’t immediately clear: Is she the lighthouse? Is "home" simply a safe haven? But it seems to be her way of describing what she’s searching for, and perhaps what she tried to be for Monteith, before it was too late. "I never thought I would be in this position in my whole life," she continues, both hands wrapped around a mug of tea. Glee was on hiatus when Monteith died, but now the fifth season is under way and Michele finds herself mourning a private loss in public.
In the show’s recently aired tribute, Glee creator Ryan Murphy and his team chose not to explain how Monteith’s character, Finn, died, opting instead to bring together members of the glee club, past and present, to mourn through song. Throughout the episode, the emotional suffering of the characters obviously reflects that of the actors themselves. And none more so than Michele-ever the professional, she recites Rachel Berry’s scripted dialogue but the tears seem real. Her rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You feel My Love” reasonates with genuine heartbreak.